( by Paige)
Game/accessory: Nintendo Labo Variety Kit
By: Nintendo Switch
Price: € 69.99 (Eu) , £59.99 (UK), $69.99 (USA)
The Nintendo Labo Variety Kit or Toy-Con 01, released on April 20th in most places and later in Europe. Toy-Cons are creations made from modular cardboard made to use with the unique functions of the Joy-Con technologies.
The Variety Kit comes with five different constructions: 2x RC Cars, 1x Fishing Rod, 1x House, 1x Motorbike and 1x Piano.
In this post I will be talking about the Fishing Rod. Please check out my previous post where I gave an overview of the Labo software and process while talking about the RC Cars.
The Fishing Rod was my first creation, as I was saving the RC Cars to do with my sister. It has an estimated completion time of around 90-150 minutes but I took about three hours. As with all the other large projects it is separated into five steps. The first is making the three rod pieces named Baby Bonnie, Lucy and Reginald . They all slot in together, and use the eyelet pieces.
As this was my first project it was really fun to make and see them slide in and out together. After that I made the reel and managed to put it on the wrong way around despite it having writing on it. However with the use of a butter knife I was able to wedge it out and put it the other way around.
Labo projects fit together by sliding tabs into slots but some are done with folded over cardboard fitted in. Simply by having a bit of cardboard in to click against the rest of it, slotted in at the top, made a fishing pole reeling sound. I was enjoying making the project but that was a point at which I was fascinated by the design of it.
After that you make the “sea” which is where the Switch will sit. Inside the sea sits a spool which holds the string from inside the sea to the fishing rod. The spool is attached by rubber bands to enable it to spin but stay on. The right Joy-Con sits at the end of the rod, and the left is opposite of the reel handle.
Finally, it is ready to play with! The line is lowered and raised with the reel, and the rod moves it side to side and around. After a fish bites you have to reel it up, while following what direction it moves with the rod. If you pull too far the other way the line breaks (in game only). If you reel while the line is blinking it breaks. You catch three fish before it ranks you on their combined weight and go again. All fish you catch go into your aquarium which you look at separately.
There are unfortunately only thirteen different fish. So once you’ve bested the Shark and caught them all there’s not any incentive to keep playing. I like fishing side games and this is quite lacking in content which disappointed me. Even the RC Cars probably have more play time in them.
This is also the only Toy-Con I’ve decorated so far. Partly because I like the normal design and I’m unsure what to create. I used coloured tape on the sea but did not tape around any opening parts. That turned out to be a good thing because my sister managed to tangle the string around the rubber band. I fixed it by taking the spool out and untangling it.
When I played it I had the Switch part on a table, but the floor is also probably a good choice. You should remind any kid playing to not be too rough with the Rod or the Switch will move. My sister tangled it by dragging it to another place using the rod. So please make sure to hold both pieces when moving it.
The discover section is where you might actually learn to fish since the play mode doesn’t have a tutorial. The Fishing Rod has the smallest discover section of them all. The right Joy-Con is what gives the switch feedback for the string itself moving. The spool mechanism is only for the physical feedback. The left Joy-Con is on the reel so it can tell which way it is rotating. The reel does not control the string, only pulling the rod does so.
Finally it teaches you how to make your own fish. Building the Piano enables this option (which I did later that evening). There is a fish card in the set, however you can also trace that onto paper and create your own fish shape with it. You cut out half of the shape of the fish you want. Then the piano provides a closed area for the IR Camera to accurately detect the shape. I tried to make a man, so it would look like a sideways man. It automatically closed the legs though it now looks like a sideways lady.
You can also use the Labo piano to change the colours and patterns using the keys which I don’t find very intuitive. I also can’t edit previously made fish, or give them names of my choice. After creating a fish you can find it in the game sometimes, my sister was able to catch one of my fish.
Thoughts on the Fishing Rod
As an adult I find making the Labo projects the most enjoyable part of Labo. While the physical feedback is nice, the game itself is quite lacking in substance.I should mention it is playable with the Switch docked, as I know some kids who aren’t allowed to play with the Switch undocked.
At one point we encountered a fish stuck on a ship part, only re-opening the game changed it. However my sister quite enjoyed playing it and managed to catch a couple of fish I hadn’t yet. She also took out the sound tab because she didn’t like it, thankfully it comes with a spare. So next time she plays it I’ll be watching a lot more closely.